Today in session with the amazing healer I work with I uncovered another trigger I have - this one around co-ownership.
Here are some of the traumas that came up for me around joint sharing (some of you who have been following me will have heard these before):
In my early 20s I worked as a pro-domme and the man who employed me became my boyfriend/Dominant. Three years into our relationship and my employment, the business was shut down by the NYPD, he was arrested, all funds were confiscated, and it was on me to empty my savings to bail him out of jail. Before this happened, I warned him that we should stop offering sessions that fell into grey areas, but he ignored me. The business went under, we lost everything, I moved him into my apartment with me and went back to waiting tables, and within a year he turned physically abusive, choking me against a wall and breaking my furniture.
After I found the courage to kick him out, I moved in with my best friend who had also just left her abusive boyfriend. We were so excited to share a fabulous bachelorette pad and we signed both our names on the lease. Every month we'd write a separate check for our half of the rent and I'd mail them in together. A year and a half later, she moved out hastily, and a few months after that I came home to an eviction notice - she had bounced the last 6 months' worth of rent checks to our landlord. I had to hire a tenant lawyer and pay her rent arrears just to keep my home.
When I started my band, I made it clear to my musicians that it was a hired gun gig and paid them out of pocket, because I wanted to keep everything simple and clean. But when some of them showed enthusiasm for the project, I opened up to collaboration and we started co-writing songs. Just months later, after I'd spent my own money producing the songs we'd written together, the musician in question started putting creative demands on me - down to slut-shaming me for the outfits I wore onstage - and sent verbally abusive emails when I refused to comply. In return, he withheld the rights for me to use any of the music he'd written with me, and hundreds of dollars of production went down the drain. It was only due to another producer friend of mine offering to rewrite the musical arrangement that I was able to continue using the melody/lyric I'd written at all.
"Do you see why I have so much trouble sharing things?" I finally cried to my healer. "I don't even want to get legally married! I think this is why I can be so generous with giving, because if I give something away it's a clean transaction. It's not that I'm selfish. It's that whenever I share anything with someone, they end up breaking it."
"Yeah but you can't do that with your heart," she said.
I'm a relationship coach, a communication expert, and a sexuality educator, and in every single relational instance I am confident about knowing the right thing to say, how to hold space, and how to solve problems. I know how to listen, how to express appreciation, how to have difficult conversations, how to pay attention to detail, how to keep the romance alive, blah blah blah.
And yet I am absolutely terrified of anything involving joint ownership.
This was perfectly fine when I was a female pickup artist hooking up with the hot goth boys on the lower east side and seducing my favorite artists, but I'm pretty much bored of that now and I'm ready to take on the next challenges of being an adult and building actual intimacy, and this trigger is not gonna fly.
So... here's hoping that shining a light on the issue opens up space for healing, and that I can repair my own broken trust long before I unconsciously take it out on anyone else.